Monday, January 9, 2017

Kansas City Family History Tour

My Grandfather, Romano Cicutto, was born in northeastern Italy near Udine.  He came to the United States and settled in Kansas City.  He was a stone cutter who created some beautiful works during his lifetime many of which still exist in Kansas City and nearby Atchison, KS.  In addition to the commercial pieces he also built a castle that served as the family home until the land it occupied was bought in order to become part of the Plaza.  Today the Bloch Cancer Survivor's Park sits on that land.  His son, my uncle Henry Cicutto also became a renowned stone cutter working in Colorado Springs. 

This past year some of my Mom's family came to town to visit in September and November. When they were in town my Kansas City cousins gave them a tour of our grandfather's work.  It had been years since I had done the 'tour' so I went along for the November tour.  Some of the pictures below were taken by my second cousin, Jason Samuel Reynaga from Texas.  He inherited his great great grandfather's artistic talent and teaches art at Wade College.

The tour starts with these columns that grace one of the entrances to the University of Kansas Medical Center. 

Next stop is the Guardian Angel Church on Westport Road.
The angel on top is the work of our grandfather.

Lucky for us there was an event going on in the church school so Dianna went in and asked if we could get into the church which allowed us to see this statue that appears to be a model of the angel on top of the church. 
The gentleman who let us in was the maintenance man and as we talked we discovered he was retired from the BNSF, he had worked in the shop.  It was fun visiting with him and hearing about the history of the church and seeing some framed pictures.  

The building with the red roof is where the Ciccuto family lived when they had to leave their castle home behind, the monument shop was located on the ground floor and the family lived upstairs.  This home is located just a block away from the the church in the pictures above.

Next stop is this pair of lionesses that guard the Kansas City Life Insurance Company building on Broadway.  The company's logo is the profile of the lioness' head.

Three of the twelve Cicutto cousins!

Next we headed to Mount Saint Mary's cemetery near downtown Kansas City where our grandparents Romano and Lillian are buried along with two of their children who died at a young age (Joseph and Romie). 

My uncle Henry made the stones.

My Uncle Henry became known for his method of carving the flowers and other designs on memorial stones, see how the flowers are three dimensional as opposed to flat carving of the outline, that was what differentiated his stones from others. He followed in his father's footsteps for creating beauty.

 The final stop was the Swope memorial in Swope Park, located across from the entrance to the golf course this memorial is beautiful.  Our grandfather made the majestic lions that eternally guard the memorial.

We didn't make it to Atchison on this tour but my grandfather made an angel that is on the campus of Benedictine College.

My grandfather Romano died when my mom was only four years old so she doesn't have many memories of him to share.  It was good to spend time with my cousins and hear stories of our grandparents that their dads had shared with them.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy Holidays

Christmas is my favorite time of year and with a wedding in the works and a toddler on the run this was an especially memorable year!

We kicked off the holiday season with an evening at the Lawrence Christmas Tree Festival which included a visit with Santa and milk and a cookie for Jackson!  It is always so much fun to see the unique and creative trees.  Jackson did really good meeting Santa, it was nice that there was a bench and he could visit Santa with his parents by his side.

There are no pictures but we also had fun at the Lawrence Holiday Farmers Market event.  So much good food and nice craft items, a great place to pick up some gifts and treats too!
Hope to make both of these events annual traditions!

Sara and Evan continued their tradition of providing the niece/nephews with their very own tree to display in their bedrooms! Josh & Susan said Jackson really liked having his very own blue tree!

Susan Smith hosted Albie and I for a delicious lunch of soup, salad, and cookies!  We exchanged gifts and enjoyed a nice long visit!  Afterwards I headed to downtown Topeka to do some Christmas shopping and enjoyed this beautiful sunset.

Matt, Kelli, and the kids stopped by on their way to Missouri for Christmas!  It was our first opportunity to meet baby Shiloh, love this sweet family!

On the 23rd we got together for our annual cookie decorating party!  Since Evan and Josh both bagged a deer this year they each decorated a reindeer cookie with red gel to represent where they shot the deer, how did I miss getting pictures of those cookies!  There were also some political statement cookies!  A fun night!

This year's Christmas t-shirts!

Family picture with Merle!

One tired little cookie decorator on his way home!

On Christmas Eve day the kids stopped by and I could not wait any longer to give Jackson his special 'Names and Faces' book made with pictures of all of the people and dogs who love him!  So cute seeing him point at the pictures and say each person's name, especially the way he says 'Mer-lo'.  The book was a hit!

After the kids left Bobby and I headed to KC to pick up JackStack bbq for Christmas day.  
I made egg rolls for our Christmas Eve dinner. 

Christmas morning we went to Josh & Susan's bright and early to watch Jax open his gifts!  Susan made caramel rolls and an egg casserole, yum.  We had so much fun watching this little guy!  He was so excited opening gifts and then playing!

A tool bench from Santa, way cool!

A basketball goal from Sara & Evan!

He was so excited to open this gift of 'Melmo' and 'Okar' figurines!  He's still carrying them around weeks later!

Later on Christmas Day everyone came out to the house to open gifts and eat bbq!  

A big boy hat like Dad's!

Showing Great Grandma Jo a toy!  

The bubble wand was a favorite!

Jackson's daycare made this mistletoe picture using his footprints, so cute!  It was Evan's idea to get a picture of them posing for a kiss under the mistletoe!

The fun continued on the day after Christmas when the Johnson's came to Lawrence!  I love this newer tradition and appreciate them coming all this way!  Lots of laughter, love, and good cheer!  

Looks like Mia is enjoying a bit of sandwich!

What a wonderful Christmas!